What is Comparison?
The definition of comparison is estimating similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people. However, if you’re struggling with comparison, you are more likely comparing your weakness with someone else’s strengths. Read that last line again! We live in a world that spends a great deal of time on social media. It doesn’t matter which platform you are on, there are lots of videos and photos that will provide you with endless material to compare with.
The Cost of Struggling with Comparison
Weaknesses vs. Strengths
When we are struggling with comparison, the cost may be higher than you think. As mentioned earlier, we tend to stack up our weaknesses to someone else’s strengths. When we do that, we are fixing our eyes on the lack rather than the abundance. This quickly shifts us into a place of discontentment. Comparison of your weakness to other people’s strengths can also be a slippery slope to jealousy.
Strengths vs. Weaknesses
On the flipside, some may be in the habit of comparing their strengths to someone else’s weakness. Doing so may make you feel better in the moment, but it’s not going to feel good in the long run.
Struggling with comparison is not God‘s best for you. God has no desire for you to live in the land of comparison. He has called and gifted each person according to His good pleasure and well. We all have weaknesses and strengths. Each one of us is on a journey that involves refining and growing and grace.
My favorite quote is a popular one by Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Friend, God does not want you working this shift anymore. The cost is far too high and the benefit does not deliver on it’s promises.
So if the cost of comparison is so high, why do we do it?
Why are we struggling with comparison?
It’s easy to make a list of do’s and don’ts to battle comparison. However, I want to do you one better. Before I list ways to battle comparison, I want to take a deeper look beneath the surface.
We all have core beliefs. These are beliefs about the world around us, ourselves and God. In other words, it’s the lens through which we see everything. These beliefs can be accurate or inaccurate. How do you discern between accurate or inaccurate core beliefs? Truth from Scripture! The farther we veer from truth the more our mind and emotions are negatively impacted. Additionally, our actions will follow suit.
If this is resonating with you, check out the online course, “Taking Thoughts Captive”.
Let’s put it together:
Activating event – you are scrolling Instagram and see a picture of a friend laughing, having a great time and surrounded by friends and family.
False core belief – I am insignificant, something is wrong with me.
Thoughts – insert the practice of comparison here.
Emotions – inadequate, sad, lonely, guilty, anxious
Action – withdraw from others
Can you see how our core beliefs kick off negative thoughts, emotions and actions? Take a moment and try to fill in each of the sequence of events for yourself. You might come to realize something new!
Identifying false core beliefs is the best way to root out comparison. The process of breaking down a false core belief takes time. Be patient with yourself. If you need help with this, schedule a coaching session or DIY with the full course. In the meantime, let’s talk about some ways to fight when struggling with comparison.
Seven Ways to Stop Struggling with Comparison
1. Practice Gratitude
It is impossible to experience jealousy and discontentment while practicing gratitude (1 Thessalonians 5:18). These emotions cannot exist together. You will have to choose one or the other.
God has given you specific gifts and talents to be used for His glory. You were handpicked with strengths that God blessed you with to do good works He prepared in advance for you. That makes you pretty significant. This is cause for rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
3. Silence the Inner Critic
Stop beating yourself up for things you perceive as weakness. Nobody is perfect, everyone falls short. There is no benefit to being hard on yourself when struggling with comparison.
4. Grasp onto Grace
Knowing and acknowledging your imperfections must be followed up with grace! His power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
5. Eyes on God
Focus on the wonderful things He is doing in you and through you. Trust that He is sovereignly and perfectly working through you exactly where you are right now. Let go of the expectations you have and look to Him and His expectations for you and your life.
6. Remove the Temptations to Compare
Is there a place or time your struggle with comparison goes into overdrive? Be aware of it and flee it if possible. Nothing is worth the cost of peace and joy in your life.
7. Practice Contentment
Contentment is a state of satisfaction regardless of where you are at any given time.
Wrapping Up: How to Stop Struggling with Comparison
Nothing good comes from comparison. If you are struggling with comparison – figure out what you’re believing about yourself. Don’t be afraid to dig beneath the surface – discomfort leads to growth. Review the list of ways to break the habit of comparison so you can reclaim your joy!